Mandatory face covering order coming to Elgin County

Residents served by Southwestern Public Health (SWPH), including Elgin and Woodstock counties and St. Thomas, can expect a mandatory face covering order in place in the coming weeks.

At a telephone conference on Thursday, July 23, Medical Officer of Health Joyce Lock said the health unit is working with municipal partners to get an order or letter of instruction in place.

The move joins many municipalities across Ontario who passed temporary bylaws mandating the public to wear masks, including Middlesex-London and Waterloo Region.

“We want to have a unified approach,” said Doctor Lock. “We do have a number of municipalities. We want to make sure across our whole region it’s done in a consistent way.”

At the conference time, there were eight ongoing cases in the SWPH coverage area, including five in St. Thomas, two in Bayham and one in Malahide.

Dr. Lock said she couldn’t provide an exact timeline of when a mask bylaw would be in place, but did say residents could expect it implemented in the coming weeks. 

This is separate from the section 22 class order issued the same day, which requires self-isolation from anyone with a confirmed case of the virus, anyone with symptoms, or anyone waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test. Those who do not comply can be fined up to $5,000.